Saturday, October 13, 2007

Detroit, Day 2: CARMEN AND SARAH

Carmen outside the General Motors building on the water

“The coolest, strangest women I’ve met have come out of this city,” says Sarah. “They mean what they say—and they look you in the eye.”

They do. Breakfast and the photo shoot down by the river with Carmen, 21, and Sarah, 24, are invigorating. They both go to Wayne State--Carmen (in the photo, left) is in a class about women and social movements; Sarah is going part-time and working a bunch of jobs at once. C and S are so open about everything, definitely self-proclaimed feminists but in a less self-righteous sense than anyone else I’ve met so far. Carmen is this little little girl, with a wavering voice, but murmurs out strong opinions so nonchalantly, like it’s no big deal and she’s been doing it all her life. She’s yet another woman who was raised almost exclusively by her mother, a woman who must have the only immigration law firm on earth that’s run out of her own home.

During breakfast, Sarah (in the photo, left) gets me thinking about something interesting. She’s been working at a bike shop for 5 years, ever since her own bike broke and she had no choice but to ask a man to fix it for her. She decided she would learn how to do it herself so that the next time it happened, she wouldn’t have to go through bullshit. Both C + S agree that the auto industry brings an extra air of macho to the city, that’s it’s just that much harder to be a respected, capable woman. Sarah tells me that men come into the bike shop, and are immediately doubtful, like, “Are you SURE you know what you’re doing, babe?”

So of course I’m sitting there having these horrible fantasies of Emma and I breaking down on the side of the road, totally helpless because neither of us knows a thing about cars. Why do we think this is a good idea? I don’t know, but it’s too late now. We’re gone.


Discussion Questions:
Question 1
Question 2
Question 3


Shaina said...

Women from Detroit are kick-ass. I've lived there my whole life and I feel exactly the same way--that it has much potential and was great back then, and could be great now. The strength of women are a big part of this city. I think what you guys are doing is awesome!

Amanda said...

What a great idea, I'll be keeping an eye on this blog for a while! Keep up the good work. :)

I know what you mean about the bike shop. When I had a car, men would always come over and act concerned if they saw me checking my car's fluid levels every week and generally checking for problems. I'd get a lot of guy acting all impressed that I checked my own oil. Please. As if it wasn't just pulling a metal wire out of the engine and seeing how much oil was on it. A lot of the time I think they were just trolling, which made it even more insulting.